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What is the average monthly Social Security disability benefit?

The Social Security Administration runs a programme that provides financial support to those who are disabled and cannot work.

Update:
With prices rapidly increasing, many senior rights advocates are calling attention to how inflation has outpaced the planned COLA for social security

Just over 12 percent of 70 million beneficiaries of Social Security Administration (SSA) receive payments due to a disability. This equates to over 8 million Americans needing support.

While Supplemental Security Income is set by the federal government with variations at the state level, Social Security disability payments (SSDI) vary for each individual and are calculated in a similar fashion to retirement benefits. The SSA looks at your earnings during the years from the time you turn 22 up to the year before you become disabled. In order to get disability benefits you must meet the strict definition that is established by law.

Calculating SSDI Payments

Your SSDI monthly benefit is based on your average covered earnings. The agency will first calculate your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) for the number of years worked between age 22 and the year before your disability. Not all of your work years will be used since you may not have had time to reach higher income years.

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The AIME is then put into a formula to determine your primary insurance amount (PIA). The formula is weighted so that lower earners get proportionally higher benefits to their average annual income. The PIA is the base amount used to establish your disability or retirement benefit, or that for your survivors. The severity of your disability does not affect the amount that you receive each month.

How much are monthly SSDI payments?

The average SSDI benefit for a disabled-worker was about $1,358.30 a month according to the Social Security Administration at the end of 2021. The majority of beneficiaries receive modest payments; 85 percent got less than $2,000 a month as of December 2021.

The maximum benefit you could receive in 2022 is $3,345 per month. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that you can use to obtain an estimate of your monthly benefits.

How long does it take the SSA to process a disability claim?

According to the agency it may take anywhere between three and five months for the SSA to send you a decision. The length of time depends on how long it takes to gather the necessary information to process your claim. Your application is given to the state agency whose medical and vocational experts make the disability decision.

Once your SSDI application is approved you cannot begin collecting benefits until the sixth full month after suffering your disability. There is a mandatory five-month waiting period, unless you suffer from ALS.